Huws: Big Year For Me and Big Year For the Club
Wednesday, 26th Aug 2020 10:58
Fully-fit-midfielder Emyr Huws is anxious to make up for lost time in the forthcoming season, which could be his last at Portman Road.
The Welsh international – he made his senior debut back in 2014 after also representing his country at U17, U19 and U21 levels – is in the final few 12 months of the four-year Town deal he signed in June 2017 upon his arrival from Cardiff City.
It has been an injury-plagued stay at Portman Road for the Llanelli-born player, who has managed just 22 league appearances, eight of them off the bench since signing permanently with a further eight in various cup competitions.
Huws, 26, is praying he can stay injury-free and add his weight to Town’s promotion challenge as they look to put last season’s disappointment of finally finishing 11th, despite a promising start that saw them top the League One table and then recapture pole position in January before the rot well and truly set in.
He said: “It’s a big year for me and it’s a big year for the club. We’ve got to do the job and get it done. We are hungry for promotion and the vibe within the group is really positive. We are feeling really good about ourselves.”
The enforced premature end to last season came when Huws had clocked up 25 appearances in all competitions, by far his best run in Town’s colours since impressing sufficiently during a loan spell in the second half of the 2016/17 season that saw then manager Mick McCarthy waste little time in making the deal permanent.
The player, who launched his career at Manchester City and also had loan spells at Northampton, Birmingham, Wigan and Huddersfield, added: “If I could have picked a time to have the break I could have done with it happening when I was out injured.
“But it is what it is and I have tried to use it to my advantage. We’ve all had to cope, not just as footballers, and try to spin it positively. We’re back now and we’re all really excited for the first game of the season and we just want to keep building on things and build some momentum in what’s left of pre-season.”
Huws missed last weekend’s visit to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but was a second-half substitute in Town’s only home warm-up fixture, yesterday’s 4-1 home defeat by a strong West Ham side at Portman Road, which was played behind closed doors in line with current procedure throughout the senior game.
He made an instant impact, providing the assist for Freddie Sears to score Town’s only goal against his former side. “It was a good ball to me from Iddy [Idris El Mizouni] and Searsy held his run nicely.
“We’ve been working on those kinds of patterns a lot. It can seem a bit boring at times but it’s worth it when they come off like that. That’s what we have to do and we’ll continue to do it.
“I thought we did well and what we’ve been working on in training is translating nicely to the pitch. We need to learn quickly from our mistakes and I think we will. Put those right and I think we look in good shape.”
Asked what the team had learned from successive games against Premier League opposition in the space of three days, he replied: “That the gap, in my opinion, isn’t that great but there is an element of being clinical at the top end of the pitch. I think that’s what I’ve seen.
“There were silly mistakes by us in both games, the one at Tottenham as well as the West Ham one, so I think if we stop doing those we look good.
“We have had various combinations in midfield through pre-season and I think things are coming together.
“We’re working a lot in training on positioning, tackling etc and we know what each other are doing. There’s a lot more kind of synchronisation in areas and I think it is working, so we’ll continue to improve on that and I think we’re looking and feeling positive.”
Given last season’s propensity for personnel and system changes, one noticeable feature of Town’s warm-up programme has been to approach all games, including the double-header at Colchester, in a similar fashion, even adhering to the 4-3-3 formation after the introduction of substitutes.
Huws continued: “What you work on in training is what you want to take into games. That’s what we’re doing and we’re sticking with it, and the games have been great. If you take the mistakes away it has been really, really positive and exactly what we’ve been working on.
“When the gaffer first came in it was really good and a breath of fresh air from where we were at the time. We’re sticking with that now and we’re going to keep practicing it.
“I think we’re all happier with it and feeling good about it, and when we take it on to the pitch we’re a lot more confident in each other. We know where we’re supposed to be, it feels good and I’m enjoying it.”
Addressing the competition for midfield places, he added: “Yes, it’s there and there’s no getting around it. I think everyone has been playing well in pre-season and the best men will play in the games.
“I feel I’m finally over my injury problems. There were parts of last season when I was still in a mode where I was still coming back, one of those where you’re trying to get through things.
“But it’s not like that now, it’s about performing and winning rather than surviving, and that’s a nice feeling to have.
“As a team we’re looking fit, have been training hard and we’re going to take that into the season and start on the front foot.”
Huw is now one of five Welshmen in the Blues squad along with Gwion Edwards, James Wilson, Adam Przybek and new keeper David Cornell, who signed last week having left Northampton earlier in the summer.
“Dai’s top man, a good goalkeeper, another good signing for us,” Huws added.
“We’re excited for the first game of the season and just want to keep building on things and building some momentum.”
Photos: TWTD/Matchday Images
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